Travel to Canada, Mexico, and the Adjacent Islands

Visas to Enter Adjacent Countries

For citizens of some countries, you may need a visa to enter Canada, Mexico or the adjacent Caribbean islands.  Well in advance of your departure, check the links below to determine if you need a visa and information about how to apply for a visa.

Returning to the U.S. (after visiting an adjacent country)

Most students and scholars (except those from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria) will not need a valid U.S. visa to return to the U.S. because of a provision called Automatic Revalidation.  This allows certain U.S. visa holders to re-enter the U.S. after a visit of less than 30 days to a “contiguous territory” (Canada, Mexico, and, in the case of F and J nonimmigrants, the “adjacent islands other than Cuba”) without having to obtain a new visa prior to re-entry.   If you are in F or J visa status, you must have a printed copy of your I-94 record, a valid passport, and a current form I-20 or DS-2019 (with valid travel signature) plus a previously-issued U.S. embassy visa stamp (which could be expired, or even in a different category than the I-94 if a change of status has been approved in the U.S.). Please speak to an OISS adviser if you have questions about this provision.

Persons in H-1 or O-1 status are also eligible to use the automatic revalidation for trips of less than 30 days - but only to Canada or Mexico. The H or O scholar must have a valid I-94 record, passport and a USCIS issued I-797 Approval Notice for their current employer.

Automatic revalidation of visa does NOT apply if you:

  • Apply for a new U.S. visa in Canada, Mexico or the adjacent islands. If you apply for a new visa, you must wait until that visa is issued to return to the U.S. 
  • Travel to any other country before returning to the U.S. from Canada or Mexico.

Applying for a U.S. Visa at a U.S. Consulate in an Adjacent Country

It can be both difficult and more complicated when applying for a visa in countries adjacent to the U.S., if you are not a citizen of that country. Please speak to an OISS adviser before making plans to apply for a visa while inside one of these countries.